Monday, 7 June 2010

The Battle of Menningen

Menningen is the second battle in our campaign based in Northern Germany.  The Allies having forced back the French following the battle of Schweinfurt were able to follow up and secure Wurtzburg.  However more French forces from the army of the Saale moving south from Erfurt threatened to cut them off and they were forced to retrace their steps back towards Schweinfurt  The French halted at Menningen and the Allies now joined by a further two corps advanced northwards to force them to fight or withdraw.  The French though only two corps strong elected to stand at Menningen despite being informed of fresh Allied forces advancing on Langensalza.

The situation at daybreak on day nine of the campaign saw the French forces facing south holding a line with their right on Menningen and their centre and left holding the road to Widensong in the East.  The Allied advance corps having captured the outlying farms and hamlets on the road from Schweinfurt took up a position facing the French left and their place was filled by a further allied corps arriving to face the French right.
the French are in a dangerous situation, their only avenue of escape should they be defeated is west along the Fulda road.  A retreat northwards through the forests would probably lead to them dissolving into an uncontrolled mass and result in the abandonment of their artillery.  In addition by the time they arrive at Langensalza it will probably be in enemy hands leaving them with little option other than surrender.  For the French commander it is vital that the Fulda road remains open and that none of his forces can be cut off from it.

Menningen from the east.  In the foreground is the Fulda road which the French will have to keep open if things don't go their way in the battle.

The Allies began the battle with the unusual deployment of a one corps on each flank but nothing in the centre.  This gap would shortly be filled by the third corps' arrival and Neil the allied commander could be reasonably sure that the French would not be attempting to seize the initiative by advancing into the very open terrain to their front.

The game began with the, by now almost obligatory defeat of formed cavalry by a squadron of cossacks.

Once again the flank assaults began with little or no artillery preparation.  Though in fairness there did appear to be little to oppose the mass of Russian and Austrian infantry which crossed the start line on the Allied left.  This illusion would not last for long however as veteran French infantry appeared defending the woods on the French right supported by cunningly hidden cuirassier.  Steve, the allied corps commanders' reaction was to line out his Russian infantry and engage in a firefight with the veteran French who had the advantage of soft cover.  Whilst his Austrian forty eight man battalions had to form square due to the cuirassier threat. 

The Austrian advance is halted by a lack of supporting cavalry or artillery.

Unfortunately for the Allies they appear to have crammed too much infantry into too small an area and will now have to come up with some very clever manoeuvres before they can continue to advance.  They will have no effective counter to the cuirassier until they can get their own heavy cavalry into a position where it can challenge the French and to do this the allied cavalry will have to move past a French held village which will doubtless take a heavy toll of the Allied horsemen.

That's the situation on the Allied left at the moment and as we have no game this week due to me being away in Bristol, I'll update the rest of the battle so far, at the weekend.


Doc Smith said...

'Austrian forty eight man battalions had to form square due to the cuirassier threat' - form square!?! The only thing square-ish about the Austrians is their Germanic box-heads - they never formed a square of any kind after 1805, much preferring a nice mass to huddle in.

On the table top it is a rectangular double column formation with all stands back to back and no tell-tale hollow to suggest anything squarish about it. I take it that its the rules you use that demand everyone forms actual squares? Historically, in the later period like in northern & central Germany, the Russians sometimes used the square formation and the Austrians never.

Great campaign BTW - French are going to have to be very selectively aggressive to not fall into any Allied trap if they are to win this one!


Der Alte Fritz said...

Infantry is very vulnerable to heavy cavalry breakthrough in the "In The Grand Manner " rules. They can slice through a 2 rank line like a hot knife through butter. Of course, the Austrians could form up in a double stand line (4 ranks) or even form two battalions one behind the other to create a wide 4 rank deep line that would be harder to break. ITGM does not have the Austrian battalionmasse formation in the rules.

Rafael Pardo said...

Infantry closely packed is a problem in the wargames table. I supect that it was not the same thing in the real life!

EinarOlafson said...

Greatt!! I want to play in your garage!!

RazorOne223 said...

Sorry for the ignorant question, but which rules were you using? I wen the length of this first page and did not see mention of any? Perhaps it escaped me but anyway, the game looked nice and looked as if it played very well so that is why I ask.


Noel said...

Razor, we use "In The Grand Manner" rules with a few very minor alterations.


Galpy said...

Once again i come to your site and go wow they just look great and the battles are very nice great photos.
Keep up the great work